Dayton Daily News

Potential for more victims in trooper sex case

- By John Bedell and Sean Cudahy Staff Writers

A veteran PREBLE COUNTY — Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper arrested on sex crimes following a secret indictment earlier this week was arrested while he was on duty and investigat­ors believe there could be more victims.

Christophe­r Ward, 44, was indicted on two counts of felony gross sexual imposition and one count of misdemeano­r sexual imposition Monday.

The charges stem from two incidents, one that allegedly happened in January 2015 and another that happened while he was off duty involving a child victim last March, investigat­ors said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigat­ion, the agency leading the criminal investigat­ion, said there could be more victims.

“This is an ongoing investigat­ion and we encourage anyone with additional informatio­n to come forward and contact us at BCI,” a spokespers­on said.

Cruiser camera footage from the Preble County Sheriff ’s Office shows Ward being transporte­d from his arrest location in Montgomery County. Ward was taken to the Butler County Jail following his arrest rather than the Preble County Jail due to safety concerns, authoritie­s said.

The investigat­ion into the allegation­s against Ward was kicked off following a referral from Preble County Children’s Services. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office then took over the investigat­ion.

Ward bonded out of jail Tuesday afternoon and is expected back in court March 28.

He was placed on administra­tive duties at the state patrol’s Dayton post as soon as the attorney general’s office started its investigat­ion, the patrol said.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunit­y to exercise Chris’ due process rights,” Ward’s attorney, Steven Hobbs, said.

In the 2015 accusation, a woman said Ward groped her when he patted her down during a traffic stop on U.S. 35.

“And when he got between my legs, he wouldn’t stop,” the accuser told News Center 7 the day the traffic stop occurred.

This news agency reviewed Ward’s personnel file and it made no mention of the 2015 incident, but multiple sources confirmed there are other records that do reference the allegation­s.

This news organizati­on has requested copies of those documents as well as cruiser camera footage from the traffic stop from the patrol.

The accuser’s mother said in a phone interview that Ward’s arrest comes as a relief.

“Our biggest thing is we don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” she said.

This news organizati­on is also continuing to try and learn additional details on the incident Ward is accused in while he was off duty.

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